Steve Smith has issued a frightening warning to Australia’s rivals, saying he felt the best he has “in about six years” after playing a starring role in the first ODI win over England.
The former skipper was forced to watch the majority of Australia’s T20 World Cup campaign from the sidelines, but was back in his customary No.3 spot in the series-opener against England on Thursday, hitting an unbeaten 80 off just 78 balls.
Smith enjoyed a 53-run stand with David Warner and appeared to mouth “I’m back baby” to the left-hander during the partnership, as he found some of his best strokes.
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The 33-year-old is adamant that he is heading into peak form as Australia’s Test summer nears, with home series against the West Indies and South Africa ahead.
“We’re always looking for perfection and for me, yesterday was probably as close to perfection as I’ll get,” he told reporters on Friday.
“It was actually probably the best I’ve felt at the crease in about six years. I felt like I had a lot of time. I felt in a nice place defensively and when I wanted to get my weight through the ball and play some shots.
“I’m just trying to get my hands and feet in sync together, that’s just been the biggest challenge.
“I’ve been able to do one and then not the other in the nets and even taking it into the game when you’re under pressure sometimes you go back to default sometimes.”
Smith was named Australia’s Test vice-captain amid much fanfare when Pat Cummins was given the captaincy following Tim Paine’s sexting scandal.
There remains questions over Cummins’ workload, particularly with the fast bowler named the ODI skipper after Aaron Finch’s retirement, but Smith suggested that should Cummins cede the red ball captaincy, it should go to a younger teammate.
“I’m 33, so I’d be going for someone younger personally. I’m pretty chilled in my role just playing,” he said.
Smith and Australia will look to seal a win in the three-match ODI series against England when it faces the old enemies in the second match of the series in Sydney on Saturday.
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